Royal Mail set to shake up the locational data market, 11th Sep, London

Date: Tuesday 11th September 2012
Venue: CBRE, Henrietta House, Henrietta Place, London W1G 0NB
Nearest tube: Bond Street

Time: Registration from 6pm, Start of seminar at 6.30pm

It’s very rare for a brand new locational dataset to enter the UK market – Royal Mail Pinpoint has started datacapture, with the aim of national coverage by end-July 2013.

RM is capturing the geo-positional details of every residential and business delivery address in the UK, and will be providing these data at prices considerably lower than Ordnance Survey’s AddressPoint (to commercial users – public sector users get a much better deal from OS via the Public Sector Mapping Agreement).

40 delegates attended this evening seminar and enjoyed hearing from Royal Mail, plus informed views from experts in the business, including the location analysis view.

The feedback was very positive with comments such as:

  • A lively session, enjoyable stuff
  • The most fun I’ve had at an SLA event ever. Laughed out loud.
  • Hats off to Gill for her willingness to engage with the debate that emerged, which touched on sensitive stuff well above pay grades.
  • It was a rip-roaring success!
  • Carnage was not avoided but pleasantly enjoyed by all – well done to Jonathan for some skilful chairmanship.
  • BIG thanks to Mark and CBRE for the venue and refreshments.
  • Very entertaining
  • Bob’s passionate presentation was inspirational and the debate between him and Gill was a joy to watch!

Download speaker’s presentations

Download Jonathan’s presentation “The locational data market”

Download Bob’s presentation “Royal Mail Pinpoint – a welcome extension to Britain’s National Spatial Address Infrastructure, or the declaration of Address War 3?”

Download Gill’s presentation “Royal Mail Pinpoint – Changing the market”

Speakers included:

  • Jonathan Reynolds of OXIRM, who will give an SLA view (Jonathan will also chair the event)
  • Gill Moore and Nick Staddon from Royal Mail, who will present Pinpoint
  • Prof. Bob Barr OBE, Manchester Geomatics and Liverpool University, who will put Pinpoint into the context of the Addressing market, and will make some observations
  • Andy Thompson, Head of Network Planning & Property Insight at Sainsbury’s, Andy will comment on the likely usefulness of Pinpoint to Location Analysts.


Introduction and The Society for Location Analysis view
Dr Jonathan Reynolds, Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and Associate Dean at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School

Deputising for SLA Chair Peter Sleight, for one night only, Jonathan will provide an introduction to the meeting and briefly review the SLA’s stance towards developments in the spatially referenced address information market. Jonathan will also chair the panel session following our three keynote presentations.

Royal Mail Pinpoint – a welcome extension to Britain’s National Spatial Address Infrastructure, or the declaration of Address War 3?
Prof. Bob Barr OBE, Manchester Geomatics and Liverpool University

Royal Mail’s development of a fine grained postcode system during the 1960s and 1970s has provided Great Britain with one of the most useful postcode systems in the world. Because postcodes cover such a small number of households, on average, they have proved to be valuable for a range of locational analyses, for survey sampling and for in-vehicle navigation. This functionality has been enabled first by the approximate Postzon coordinates designed originally for transport survey purposes and later enhanced, first by the Pinpoint PAC initiative in the 1980’s and later by Ordnance Survey’s AddressPoint in the 1990s.

Unfortunately the whole field of spatially referenced address information in the UK has been marred by high prices, contentious licence conditions and conflict between Local Government, Ordnance Survey and Royal Mail which has been characterised as the ‘Address Wars’. So should we consider Royal Mail’s latest Pinpoint initiative as a welcome enhancement of an already valuable postcode system to make it fit for use in the rapidly burgeoning development of location based services? Or, is it the first shot in the third Address War where Royal Mail tries to take commercial advantage of its de-facto monopoly in the supply of postal address information?

Speaker biographies

Professor Robert Barr OBE, Manchester Geomatics and Liverpool University

Bob Barr is an urban and social geographer who has spent much of his career working on the development of geographical information systems, assessing data quality and commenting on spatial data policy issues. He worked at the University of Manchester for 30 years where he was Director of the Regional Research Laboratory, later spun out as Manchester Geomatics. He served on the Social Exclusion Unit’s Policy Action Team 18 where he chaired the spatial referencing sub-group and which led to the setting up of the ONS Neighbourhood Statistics Service. Manchester Geomatics worked with ONS and Local Authorities to identify flaws in the 2001 Census and to establish a reliable National Address Register for the conduct of the 2011 Census. Since retiring from Manchester, he has remained as Chairman of Manchester Geomatics, has been elected to Warrington Borough Council where he served for four years on the Executive Board. He is currently a member of the National Archives’ Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information, the Cabinet Office Open Data Users Group and the Council of the Association for Geographic Information. He also chairs the AGI Address Geography Special Interest Group. He is a visiting professor at Liverpool University. Bob was awarded an OBE in the 2008 New Year Honours for services to geography.

Gill Moore, Head of Data Capture, Royal Mail

Gill Moore is Head of Data Capture at Royal Mail, she has worked for Royal Mail for over 15 years, in that time she worked in a number of marketing and data related roles. Gill worked in the Address Management Unit for over 4 years where she was responsible for PAF licensing and pricing. For the last 3 yrs Gil has worked in Data Services where she leads the development of Pinpoint for Royal Mail. An addressing expert Gill has done consultancy work in both Europe and Asia, she is also a member of the UPU Address committee.

Nick Staddon, Business Development Manager, Royal Mail

Nick Staddon is a Business Development Manager at the Royal Mail; he has worked for Royal Mail for over 30 years in many different departments and roles. Nick spent 19 of these years working in the National Postcode Centre/Address Management Unit where he carried out management roles in data quality, GIS, postcode area recoding, training and commercial relationships. For the last two years Nick has worked in Data Services where he has been responsible for National Change of Address (NCOA) data sales and more recently the business development of the new Pinpoint dataset for Royal Mail.

Dr Jonathan Reynolds, Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and Associate Dean at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School

Jonathan Reynolds is Academic Director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management and Associate Dean at the University of Oxford’s Said Business School. A geographer and planner by background, he now works with students of marketing and retailing of all ages and leads applied research projects on the sector internationally. He is the current director of the longstanding Oxford Retail Location Analysis workshop (which next runs between 8-10 April, 2013).

Andy Thompson, Head of Network Planning & Property Insight at Sainsbury’s

Andy began his career in GIS and Location Planning at Laser Scan and then Small World Systems some twenty years ago. He then moved to Rank Group as Market Intelligence Manager, where he met future business partners Jon Walker and Steve Halsall. His next venture was to set up his own business, GeoBusiness Solutions, alongside his two former work colleagues, Jon and Steve. GeoBusiness Solutions was an independent location analysis company which grew in success with many customers across retail, property and leisure using their consultancy and modelling skills until its takeover by MapInfo, now Pitney Bowes Business Insight. Andy enjoyed being his own boss and running his own business so he then set another new company, The Wendover Group for three years before moving on to a completely new venture at Anytime Fitness, where as MD Andy helped to establish this successful brand, with clubs across the US, Australia and Europe in the UK. Anytime Fitness now has six clubs open in the UK with plans to double this by the end of 2012. He is currently working at Sainsbury’s heading up their Network Planning and Property Insight team.

We urge you to attend this event, which promises to be both very interesting, and quite lively!